EVOLUTION: The Aquatic Ape

John K Clark (johnkc@well.com)
Sun, 26 Jan 1997 22:32:20 -0800 (PST)


On Fri, 24 Jan 1997 Keith Henson <keith@filoli.com> Wrote:

>>I just have my doubts that a pre-human throwing a rock would even
>>be a good bluff, and as a offensive hunting weapon I think it
>>would be hopeless.

>It might be more useful for that in the early stages, but after a
>while of using rocks/sticks to fend off preditors, some genious of
>Lucy's clan would use it to obtain lunch. After that . . . .

There is no evidence that Lucy did any hunting at all, even with much later
and much more intelligent species like Africanus and Habilis the evidence
is mixed. They certainly ate meat when they could, but what we find is very
heavy limb bones broken open by hominids to get at the marrow, we also find
teeth marks from cats and other predators on these bones. According to Donald
Johanson, the man who found Lucy, predators, even hyenas, have great trouble
breaking open these heavy leg bones from large animals. He thinks that after
the big cats made a kill and ate all they could, and even the hyenas were no
longer interested, these early hominids helped themselves with the garbage.
The image of "Man The Mighty Scavenger" is not very sexy but it may be true.

>isolation on the dryer side of the east african rift seems to have
>been one major factor in the evolution of the human line.

I agree, isolation always encourages the development of new species.

On Sat, 25 Jan 1997 J de Lyser <gd33463@glo.be> Wrote:

>(late) afarensis was a tool user.

Early or late, I've never seen any evidence that Afarensis (Lucy) made tools.
Habilis made crude tools, so did Africanus and Robustus, Erectus made some
pretty sophisticated highly crafted tools, but Lucy made nothing at all.
What I want to know is if she wasn't making tools why did she bother to
become bipedal and what did she use that first rate hand for?

>If YOU believe in evolution, you have to acknowledge that even
>though the improvements to these cats, are nowhere near the ones
>that appeared in Hominids, there will have been improvements.

Although I wouldn't go as far as Stephen Jay Gould and say that Evolution has
nothing to do with improvement only adaptation, it would be very misleading
to look on it as a straight ladder leading to perfection. Ancient cats were
adapted to their environment, modern cats are adapted to theirs, besides
3.9 millions years is usually too short a time to change things very
dramatically, the Hominid line a very important exception.

>Did any of my posting about the chimps being able to handle the
>leopards get trough to you ?

I'm sure they can handle a dummy leopard, perhaps on rare occasions a real
one too, but I don't think on average leopards have much to fear from chimps,
rather the reverse.

>Look up a picture of a smilodon skull - It's FLAT where the brain
>should be, where todays big cats have much rounder skulls.

A rounder skull does not prove a bigger brain. Neanderthal's had a very low
forehead because their skull was much flatter and longer than ours, yet their
brain was as large as ours, perhaps slightly larger.

John K Clark johnkc@well.com

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